The article by Jaudes and Diamond1 in this issue is a provocative and important statement of a serious social problem. Children with chronic illness represent 10% to 15% of the child population and, of this group, 10% have threatening chronic illness.
Chronic illness in childhood, as the authors point out, generates a whole series of problems for the children and for their families, ranging from direct and indirect financial losses to intense emotional stress within the family unit. Educational problems, access to specialized medical care, coordination of services offered by a variety of agencies, and identifying actual needs and locating services to meet these needs are additional issues that are generic and not disease specific for these children and families. As the authors also make clear, many of these problems may arise out of poverty itself, so that when chronic illness and poverty coincide, as